Tuesday, September 14, 2010
shopping (and saving) a new way
I normally like to use the self checkout at grocery stores. I've got nothing against cashiers, i just like to bag up my own stuff in the bags i brought so that one bag has freezer stuff and one has pantry stuff and one has refrigerator stuff, etc. But i have been resisting using the little hand-held laser readers that you use as you shop. Why? I don't know. Deep down i guess i'm kinda afraid that if i use too many automated things, humans will lose their jobs. Who can tell what's going on inside my noggin. Anyhoo, a few weeks ago i needed to get a few items and the store was REALLY busy; there were even lines several people deep at self checkout. I decided to give the laser gizmo a try. LOVE IT! Not only is it a time saver and super fun, it has coupons. Did you know there were coupons in the scanner? Cause i didn't know there were coupons in the scanner. Why didn't someone tell me that there are coupons IN the scanner? The first thing you do with the scanner is scan your bonus card so now it has your shopping history. Then it gives you coupons based on the things you buy. Sometimes it is the actual item you normally buy, like my preferred brand of yogurt. I only buy yogurt when it is on sale for 50 cents. Then the scanner gave me an additional 10 cents of each one - no limit. Yes, Yoplait yogurt, normally 80 cents each and i paid 40 cents each. Love it. Sometimes, though, the scanner will give you coupons on things related to things that you buy, like a dressing to go with your bag o' salad. Clever, no? And you do still need humans cause sometimes it doesn't want to scan regular coupons without an override card, so i'm not stealing all of their jobs. I always use the laser scanner now. Last week it offered me 75 cents off of Old El Paso boxed products. ?!?!?!?!? I've never used an Old El Paso boxed product before. I've never even considered it. Sure, i've used the taco seasoning packets, but not the dinner starter things. Why would the scanner... ohhhh, i do buy flour tortillas pretty often cause i loves me some quesadillas; maybe it was branching off of that. So the scanner coupon was 75 cents off of two and that didn't seem like a very good deal since i figured they were probably $4 or $5 each. who wants to pay $9.25 for something you might not even like? When i went down the tortilla aisle i stopped by the Old El Paso section out of curiosity. That week the boxes were on club card special at 2 for $5. hmmmmm... that would make them 2 for $4.25 with the coupon or $2.13 each. hmmmmmmm... is that a point of purchase coupon on one of the boxes? Buy 2 dinner kits and get a free taco seasoning packet. very hmmmmmmmmmm... Obviously i couldn't resist 3 deals on the same product; who could? I went with the enchilada kits cause a taco kit is just seasonings and taco shells; i've bought both of those things separately before so there wasn't enough newness to it. I love enchiladas. My standard Mexican Tex/Mex dish is whatever combo platter has cheese enchiladas and chile rellenos on it. I was a bit dubious about this whole enchiladas-from-a-box thing, but we're all about going outside of our comfort zone here in the Nikiverse this year. Normally, i'd do cheese or chicken, but i decided that i would do beef for a change. Heading over to the ground beef section i saw that something called Meatlof Mix was on sale. What? says I. It is ground beef, pork and veal. Sure. Okay. Why not? I am shopping with one of those laser things you use to register for your wedding and i'm going try to make enchiladas from a box. Why not throw in a meat mixture i've never even heard of? Next up, i needed cheese. The scanner doesn't have any cheese coupons, but when i get to the dairy case i notice that block cheese is on sale - $1 off per pound. Plus if you buy three 1-pound blocks you get 200 extra gas points, which translates to 20 cents off per gallon. hmmmmmmm... If i get 3 different types i can shred some and freeze it for future use and mix the cheese i put on the experimental enchiladas. Plus i do have less than a quarter tank of gas. Fine. Block cheese it is. Finally, i needed some salad fixings or something green to go with. Consulting my scanner it offered me 75 cents off of bag salad and $1 off bagged veggies so i got baby spinach and shredded broccoli slaw. The meatloaf mixture browned up nicely and wasn't very fatty. I cut up an onion, some fresh broccoli and fresh spinach to cook along with it and threw in frozen corn when i added the seasoning and water. It all cooked down into a yummy smelling meat/veggie mixture that i kinda wanted to eat with a fork right then out of the skillet. But i refrained and filled the included flour tortillas, put them in a baking dish and covered them with the included red sauce. Sauce that came in a plastic pouch, mind you. Sauce in a pouch? Questionable. Finally, both mild and sharp cheddar cheese got shredded over the top of the dish and I popped the whole kit and kaboddle into the oven. I could not believe it. DELICIOUS! Paired here with a simple broccoli slaw with ranch dressing and sunflower seeds. Perhaps not the most attractive dish ever, but dang tasty. And since the kit makes 6 enchiladas i had enough for 3 meals. Brilliant. I would never have known if it hadn't been for my new friend the hand held shopping scanner.